Richard III

Richard III is one of the most fascinating Shakespeare plays I know, and it is always interesting to see new interpretations by different companies. The text itself is incredibly complex and deals with very mature themes, so it seems like a play that could be a nightmare for such a young company to perform. However, I can confidently say that Close Up Theatre deliver.

Close Up Theatre have delivered another fantastic show this year

This production is a very modern take on the play and, considering the average age of the cast, makes the show seem very relevant. Richard is described as 'a very modern politician' and we can see this throughout the show as he sits in his leather arm chair at his desk, watching all of his accomplices carry out his dirty work for him. At times we forget that we are watching an old text about a fifteenth-century monarch, as Close Up Theatre have successfully infused vitality and modernity into this adaptation.

Though the cast is enormous (almost 30 actors) there are few weak links amongst them. All of them have a very good grasp of the language they are handling and are so committed to their parts that we follow them all of the way. This is incredibly impressive for such a young cast. Richard himself (Jake Deasy) is superb, hobbling around stage with a venomous charm that demands our attention. The display of talent on show here is remarkable and I expect some great things from these youngsters.

There are moments where staging and direction seems clumsy or not quite thought through with care. For example, Lady Anne is wheeled on stage in a chair, yet with so many actors and so much set upstage that it looked clumsy, as the two actors pushing her struggle to navigate through what seems like an obstacle course. Similarly, as impressive as it is to see all of Richard's victims fill the stage as ghosts, there is no discernible order to this and they end up looking rather squashed together

There is no doubt that Close Up Theatre have delivered another fantastic show this year, and I cannot wait to see what they will produce in the years to come. They are a very promising company with a hugely talented cast.

Reviews by Alex Hargreaves

theSpace on the Mile

Normal is an Illusion

★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Not the Horse

★★★★
Greenside @ Royal Terrace

Richard III

★★★★
C venues – C cubed

A Midsummer Night's Dream

★★★
C venues - C

The Society of Strange

★★★★
Paradise in Augustines

C'tait la Nuit

★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

Dark, seductive and witty, Shakespeare's most charming villain prowls an eerily-familiar, dystopian landscape in search of ever more power. Richard stops at nothing to get what he wants, breaking loyalties, hearts and promises with breathtaking impunity. No one is safe in his world of terror: not allies, not friends and certainly not family. A hauntingly reimagined classic for the House of Cards age. Close Up Theatre: top reviews and sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, every year since 2004.

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